Scientists and Indigenous leaders team up on project to revive purebred bison population - The Globe and Mail

“The bison steaks at the swish restaurant downtown, bison burgers from A&W, bison briskets from the farmers market” are bison. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible. The article denigrates the work that private ranchers, commercial outlets like A&W, and bison consumers, have played in the restoration of the species.

The topic reported on is worthy of coverage. It is important to note that there is collaboration among private ranchers, conservationists, researchers, Indigenous Nations in bison restoration. All parties have a role to play.

Like other food producers in this country, bison ranchers are hard working men and women who make valuable contributions to the rural economy and to the conservation of bison. It is through the efforts of farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and policy makers that bison in North America were brought from the brink of extinction to over 400,000 bison in North America today. A majority of these bison are on commercial bison ranches.

To suggest that bison are not what you think they are and that bison products are made from hybrid creatures where their genes are polluted with Cattle DNA, is simply wrong.

The bison industry, although in its infancy, has invested in growing the industry and supporting research including meat research to understand the nutritional profile of bison. The bison industry is also involved in research using current genomics technology to develop a genetic profile of bison in North America whether they are bison in park herds or commercial herds.

Preliminary research results indicate “pure bison” in both commercial herds and wild herds. The research also indicates that there is greater genetic diversity in the bison population then there is in beef cattle. Cattle introgression is insignificant in the genetic makeup of bison and what little may be found in some animals is possibly the result of failed experiments conducted 130 years ago by the handful of ranchers who helped save bison from extinction. The Canadian Bison Association and the National Bison Association in the US do not condone cross-breeding, and in-fact, several bison producers are actively conducting DNA testing to cull animals with significant cattle genetic introgression.

The Canadian Bison Association is a not-for-profit organization with almost 550 members. It supports the industry through research, marketing, policy development, conservation, breed registration, public awareness, and publishing information on the industry. For More information go to www.canadianbison.ca

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Terry Kremeniuk

Executive Director

Canadian Bison Association

Regina Saskatchewan

Ph: 306.522-4762

Cell 306-537-1483

Email: canadianbison(at)sasktel.net


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